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Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

A thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is a bulge in your aorta that occurs when the aorta's walls are weakened. The aorta is a large blood vessel that extends from your heart down the center of your chest.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Blood pressure and cholesterol medicine: These may be given to help stop your TAA from growing.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or vascular surgeon as directed:

You may need to return to have your TAA checked. You may also need to have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Self-care:

  • Check your blood pressure as directed: Keep a record of your blood pressure and bring it with you to follow-up visits. Ask your primary healthcare provider (PHP) what your blood pressure should be and how to check it. High blood pressure can make your aneurysm worse.

  • Exercise: Ask your PHP to help you create an exercise plan. This may help lower blood pressure.

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods: Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. You may be told to eat foods low in cholesterol or sodium (salt). You also may be told to limit saturated and trans fats. Ask your PHP if you need to be on a special diet.

  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking increases your risk for TAA and heart disease. Ask your PHP for information if you need help quitting.

Contact your primary healthcare provider or vascular surgeon if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have new symptoms since your last appointment.

  • Your symptoms prevent you from doing your daily activities.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have nausea and are vomiting.

  • You have sudden chest, neck, back, or abdominal pain.

  • Your skin becomes pale and sweaty, or you feel very weak.

  • You are dizzy, or you faint.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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